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10th Dec 2021

Devastating solar storm ‘could send mankind back to Dark Age’, says new study

Danny Jones

Solar storm could send us back to the Dark Ages

Can you just not? There’s enough going on as it is

Astronomers are predicting a devastating solar storm could hit our solar system, sending Earth and humankind back into a “dark age”. How very 2021 of you, universe.

The prediction comes after the team behind the study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder spotted a phenomenon known as a corona mass ejection (CME) in a star system 100 lightyears away from us, with the fear that the same could happen closer to home.

While solar flares are more sudden flashes of light and radiation that can cause magnetic disturbance to nearby planets, CMEs are enormous cloud particles filled with gas and plasma which are shot out from the surface of the sun over the course of several hours, with billions of tons accelerating at millions of miles per hour.

They can occur at the same time as solar flares and, at their worst, can happen multiple times in a day. While fairly common, every 100 years or so they can shoot in our direction – and the study’s co-author, Dr Yuta Notsu, warns that they can have a “serious impact on Earth and human society.”

The star currently emitting the potential series of CMEs is known as EK Draconis (Latin for ‘dragon’) and if an eruption emits particles towards our planet, it could fry satellites, crash power grids and cause widespread blackouts in cities across the globe.

This isn’t the only warning we’ve had regarding outer space activity recently either, as it was only a week or so ago that NASA warned of an asteroid breaking up into Earth’s atmosphere. It was supposedly due any day now, so we can only assume it brushed past us as so many of the meteorological warnings tend to do.

Although experts believe this solar storm or ‘super flare’ as they are sometimes called, could possibly hit by the end of this century, the added fear is that a similar phenomenon could occur on our own sun.

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